Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dale Jr.: 'It's a tough deal to go through' losing crew chief Steve Letarte

  Thursday night, Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke with Claire B. Lang of SiriusXM Satellite Radio about the decision of his crew chief, Steve Letarte, to leave the team at the end of the 2014 season and move to the NBC Sports broadcast booth.

   Here are Earnhardt's comments on the situation:

   "It's a tough deal to go through. Steve has really put the team in a difficult situation because we all enjoy working with him so much. It has been rewarding for me personally to work with him and something you'd love to continue to do but he has an opportunity - he's a family man - and he has the opportunity to be with his family more with this position he's been offered at NBC. So, I am happy for him as a person and as a friend to have that opportunity and something that he's excited about and something he wants to try to go do. I've been able to be in the discussion with him about this for several months so it's something I've been able to wrap my brain around. I know a lot of people out there are finding out about this today and it's a bit of a shock.

   "I look at it as an opportunity to work with Steve for another season. I enjoy doing that, so I look at it as an opportunity to work with him one more year before he goes off and does his deal. I feel really, really confident the team can run well all season and he's going to stay dedicated. He's that kind of a guy. He's a professional and we're going to have an opportunity to continue to try to improve on what we've been doing. We'll cross the bridge on who's the next crew chief when we need to. We haven't even had those discussions yet."

Fans will determine the starting lineup for Sprint Unlimited

   For the second year in a row, fans will decide upon a number of competition elements for the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona, the 75-lap, non-points race that kicks off the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season on Saturday, Feb. 15.
   Starting today, fans can cast their votes to set the overall format and determine key racing elements. Fans will set the number of laps in each of the three segments, while also voting on how drivers will line up at the start of the race and how they will line up for the restart of the final segment.
   Fans can submit their votes within the official NASCAR app, NASCAR MOBILE, or at
   Voting is unlimited and all votes cast through NASCAR MOBILE will count twice. The voting window for the race format will close on Saturday, February 15 at 6 p.m. ET, while voting for the starting order and final segment restart order will close at various times during the race broadcast.

   Voting Categories:
  • Race Format: Number of laps in each race segment (Voting ends at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 15)
    • Option A: 30 laps/35 laps/10 laps
    • Option B: 30 laps/30 laps/15 laps
    • Option C: 30 laps/25 laps/20 laps
  • Starting Order: How drivers will line up to start the race (Voting ends at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 15)
    • Option A: Most Career Poles (most to least)
    • Option B: 2013 Driver Points Standings
    • Option C: Final Practice Speeds (fastest to slowest times)
  • Restart Order for Final Segment: How drivers will line up for the final segment (Voting ends at the conclusion of the second segment)
    • Option A: Fastest lap in the race (first and second segments both count)
    • Option B: Most laps led (first and second segments both count)
    • Option C: Mandatory pit stop (drivers lineup how they come off pit road)


NASCAR gets a new Sprint Cup Series director

  When the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets underway this year it will do so with its first new leader in a dozen years.

   NASCAR on Thursday announced Richard Buck as the series' new managing director, replacing John Darby. Darby will remains at NASCAR as managing director of competition. Buck, along with Nationwide series director Wayne Auton and Truck series director, Chad Little, will report to NASCAR's vice president of competition, Robin Pemberton.

   Buck currently serves as vice president of racing operations for the International Motor Sports Association, a role he will maintain through the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.

   "I'm eager and ready to pursue this unique opportunity to serve as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series managing director," Buck said in a statement. I appreciate the faith that NASCAR's management team has entrusted in me for this role."